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Sir Hugh Ackland

Scary Books: Apparitions; Or, The Mystery Of Ghosts, Hobgoblins, And Haunted Houses

The following remarkable fact shews the necessity of minutely examining

people after death, prior to interment, and of not giving way to

ridiculous fears about supernatural appearances.

The late Sir Hugh Ackland, of Devonshire, apparently died of a fever,

and was laid out as dead. The nurse, with two of the footmen, sat up

with the corpse; and Lady Ackland sent them a bottle of brandy to drink

in the nigh
. One of the servants, being an arch rogue, told the other,

that his master dearly loved brandy when he was alive; "and," says he,

"I am resolved he shall drink one glass with us now he is dead." The

fellow, accordingly, poured out a bumper of brandy, and forced it down

his throat. A gurgling immediately ensued, and a violent motion of the

neck and upper part of the breast. The other footman and the nurse were

so terrified, that they ran down stairs; and the brandy genius,

hastening away with rather too much speed, tumbled down stairs head

foremost. The noise of the fall, and his cries, alarmed a young

gentleman who slept in the house that night; who got up, and went to

the room where the corpse lay, and, to his great surprise, saw Sir Hugh

sitting upright. He called the servants; Sir Hugh was put into a warm

bed, and the physician and apothecary sent for. These gentlemen, in a

few weeks, perfectly restored their patient to health, and he lived

several years afterwards.

The above story is well known to the Devonshire people; as in most

companies Sir Hugh used to tell this strange circumstance, and talk of

his resurrection by his brandy footman, to whom (when he really died) he

left a handsome annuity.